Hundley resigns ministerial association presidency

June 12, 1997


Staff Writer

Citing a lack of cooperation and subtle racism, the Rev. Philip Hundley has resigned as president of the Washington County Ministerial Association.

"I feel it's better this way," according to Hundley, who said he has served one year of a two-year term.

The Rev. Dennis Upton, whom Hundley said is following him as president, said Wednesday that the president's term is only for one year.

"I'm not the new president," Upton said. He said the ministerial association would not meet again until September.

Upton, the pastor of Emmanuel United Methodist Church, had no further comment on Hundley's resignation.

"I know by the lack of participation, attendance, and other signals, as well as remarks, that the majority of the members have a problem with me being an African American," Hundley said in the two-page letter.


Hundley, in the letter, said he also believes his controversial involvement with issues facing the community and his belief "in total interaction" was another reason.

As bishop of An House of Prayer For All People, Hundley said he has sought to unite all races and social classes in the community, a stance that he believes has made him unpopular in some circles.

And, he said in the letter, he believes "it is hard for the majority in any community to accept leadership from a minority."

"I feel that we who stand as the representatives of God in our various pulpits at different times, need to give a better example to the many souls that are watching us," Hundley wrote.

Hundley said part of the fault may be his own, saying he knows he has shortcomings.

"Maybe I wasn't aggressive enough," Hundley said, alluding to the previous president, Rabbi Charles Rabinowitz, who is leaving town soon for a new post in New York.

Rabinowitz was contacted Wednesday, but said he also had no comment on Hundley's resignation.

"I plan to continue my membership in the fall," Hundley said.

He said he also will remain active in the Washington County Council of Churches, which is led by the Rev. David Buchenroth of Trinity Lutheran Church.

Hundley said he hopes the controversy doesn't affect the ministerial association and that he wants to see the group grow and flourish.

"It's important to have both groups," Hundley said. The county council is affiliated with a national group, and the ministerial association is local.

Hundley said he learned a long time ago that Hagerstown is a closed community. He said racism was blatant in the community 14 years ago, but now is more subtle.

"The last place racism should be allowed is among the houses of worship and most will say it's not in them," Hundley said.

But Hundley said everyone needs to check his own heart.

"I'm not bitter but it hurts," Hundley said.

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